(MITCHELL) - Workers at American Fibertech are striving to restart production after a fire and explosion destroyed the main manufacturing area of the plant early Sunday morning.
Plant Manager Jack Faubion says 86 workers are employed at the plant and no one has been without work since the fire. They have been busy clearing away debris.
Faubion says the plant should be back in production in a few weeks. "We have customers waiting for orders," he says. The factory is located on Ind. 60 west and makes containers and boards for pallets.
Authorities say the fire started around 12:30 a.m. and firefighters were on the scene within 7 minutes. Firefighters from Marion VFD and Huron responded. Oolitic and Shawswick were called for water support along with Mitchell VFD for manpower.
Marion VFD Chief Kyle Mundy says the fire started in the main manufacturing area of the building. Explosions shook the building around 1:10 a.m., blowing out walls and sending sheets of metal, weighting more than 100 pounds, flying 250 feet from the building.
"The building was evacuated minutes before the explosion, when firefighters noticed the fire shooting out the roof, we called firefighters out, they just got out when the compressed - gas cylinders used for cutting torches and welding exploded," says Mundy.
No one was injured in the fire or blast. A firewall between the buildings helped prevent the fire from spreading to the other two buildings.
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